It has been a day on the dais for GB Snowsport with a one-two finish at the World Championships and a World Cup bronze medal to go with it.

Menna Fitzpatrick and guide Jen Kehoe have taken out the visually impaired downhill World Championship at Sella Nevea, Italy today, with Kelly Gallagher and guide Gary Smith finishing in second place. Meanwhile, in France, Jasmin Taylor took bronze in the Telemark World Cup sprint race, the 26th podium of her career.

Fitzpatrick and Kehoe’s victory means the downhill crown remains in British hands after Millie Knight and Brett Wild claimed the title in 2017.

For both Fitzpatrick and Gallagher, the results complete their journey back to the top of the high-speed event with both suffering battles of confidence after crashing out in downhill races recently.

At last year’s Paralympic Games, Fitzpatrick and Kehoe missed gates in training and fell during the race, meaning today marked the first time in almost twelve months that the pair completed a competitive downhill run.

“We are delighted with the win, particularly after our disastrous downhill experiences in PyeongChang,” said Kehoe. “Crossing the finish line having skied well as a team was a massive achievement, particularly given the tricky conditions caused a number of competitors to crash out today.”

Fitzpatrick added that after scoring two podiums in the technical events in Slovenia last week, today’s result gives the pair a boost going into the super combined and super G.

“This win is a huge step for us in speed,” she said. It’s given us loads of confidence going into the remainder of the races.”

For Gallagher, who hadn’t reached the World Championships podium since 2013, today’s race marked a special achievement in a career already highlighted by a Paralympic gold medal.

“I haven’t entered a downhill since I got badly injured in the 2017 World Champs; I have struggled with confidence ever since,” said Gallagher. “My guide Gary has been with me everyday since, believing in me and encouraging me, the most supportive guide and so understanding.

“PyeongChang was a disappointment for us because I skied with so much fear and apprehension. It has been so hard, and so it was very special to be able to push out of the start gate and then complete the course – it was emotional.

“It has been an amazing season for us to win those Europa Cup giant slalom races before Christmas and for me to believe in myself again. I wanted to prove to myself that we could be competitive again and thank everyone who has helped me get back to racing after 2017. Mission accomplished!”

James Whitley finished 14th in the men's standing downhill.

>> Earlier in the day, Jasmin Taylor recorded her second Telemark World Cup podium in as many days after earning third place in the sprint at Pra Loup, France. Taylor yesterday finished second in the classic and followed it up with another top-three finish today advance her career tally to 26 World Cup podiums.

She has a chance to add to that total in the parallel sprint tomorrow and is closing in on freestyle skier Jilly Curry’s GB record of 29 World Cup podiums.

In the men's race, Ben Emsley finished with his best World Cup sprint result in 20th position.

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The Para Alpine World Championships continue in Italy tomorrow with the super combined (9am/12:30pm*) before Friday’s super G (Fri 10:15am*); live streaming is available on www.youtube.com/user/ParalympicSportTV.

The Telemark World Cup also continues tomorrow morning* from France with the parallel sprint; live streaming is available on https://livestream.com/TeleHo/events/8500974.

* start times will be confirmed dependent on weather conditions

 

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